Friday, July 12, 2013

Church of England news

A special York General Synod edition of In Review is available for download here
including reports on debates about child protection, welfare reform and women bishops.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Make your holiday a Holy Day

Resources to help you pray

Holidays give us the chance to do new things, go to new places, try new experiences.Whether you are getting away or not this summer, I’d like to suggest that there is a way in which all of us can make space for something new over the next few months, and that is through prayer. Prayer might not sound much like a fortnight in Majorca, but actually there’s more similarity than you might suppose. Our image of prayer is often either rather earnest and dull, the dutiful recitation of some well-worn words out of habit, or something that is reserved for dire emergencies, desperate entreaties to God when a loved one is ill or some disaster has befallen us. But prayer can be much more than that. It is a happy accident that praying and playing are almost the same word, but the best prayer is often profoundly playful, just like a good holiday, making space for new discoveries about ourselves, about the world around us, about God himself.

Prayer can be almost anything which enables us to do that. Art, craft, gardening, walking, dancing, singing, or just sitting still and letting the life of the world unfold around us; all these things and many others, can help us to see our lives with new eyes, and notice God at work in us. It can take a bit of thought and effort to get started, just as a holiday needs planning, booking, packing and preparing for. We need to make a conscious decision to take time to pray, as we do to make travel plans. There’s no guarantee, either, that all will be peace and joy when we pray, any more than we can be sure that the hotel will be as described in the brochure, or that the sun will shine non-stop. Many people find time off threatening and difficulty – they miss the busyness of work – and sometimes we avoid praying because we don’t really want to see the things that need changing in our lives either. But ultimately, just as all work and no play makes us dull people, all work and no pray impoverishes us spiritually too. 

So, here are some ideas to help you get started, or try a different approach to prayer.

A leaflet to download with ideas for creative prayer

Ideas for children and the young at heart (created for our last Messy Church)
A DIY prayer book to print out and decorate, with favourite prayers for all ages.

Websites with ideas for prayer
Sacred Space - daily meditative prayer
Southwark Diocese spirituality - lots of resources for prayer

Bewl Water walk

We chose the hottest day of the year to walk round Bewl Water last Saturday in aid of church funds...
Well done to all who joined in.
Thanks to Stephen for these photos, which seem to me to capture the essence of the event - distance, heat and exhaustion at the end!

Monday, July 08, 2013

REALLY Messy Church

What do you suppose happens when you give the Messy Church tribe garden sprayers full of poster paint and tell them to fire at will...?

1. Some seriously paint-splattered children (and adults) - the pictures above were taken in the early, and fairly restrained, stage of the proceedings...
2. Bushes in the church hall garden with very odd coloured leaves
3. A wonderful banner to go in church!

The banner should be up by next Sunday, but here is a sneak preview...
(We pinned paper hearts to the banner first, then sprayed it, as a "s-prayer" for those we loved. Then we removed the hearts..)

What we needed after that were some glitter shakers - shake them up and watch them settle ...

The recipe is - one plastic water bottle, about a tablespoon full of glitter, some sequins and/or plastic confetti, and one drop of washing up liquid (otherwise the glitter clumps together). Put it all in the bottle, filling it right to the top with water, put the top on firmly (we stuck tape around it to make sure!) and shake...

The children also went away with a prayer book to decorate, with some of my favourite prayers - some for now, and some to grow into. You can download a copy of it here. I designed it as an A5 booklet. If you can't print it out like that, just print it onto separate sheets, cut the prayers out and stick them into a scrapbook of your own.

And here is the prayer chatterbox.

There will be more ideas for prayer - for adults and children - at the back of church over the summer, and I will put resources on the website and blog too, so do pop into church, or back here and have a look sometime.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Messy Church this Sunday

There will be a Messy Church session this Sunday afternoon - July 7th - from 4 -5.30pm.
It promises to be a lovely day, and we will be outside for some activities.
The theme this time will be prayer with lots of creative ideas for praying. If you've ever wondered how to help your children pray, or wanted to find a little peace and space to reflect yourself, then this session is most definitely for you!
There will be mess - we are doing a spray paint activity...
There will be bubbles
and there will, of course, be glitter. How could it be Messy Church if there wasn't any glitter!
Hoping to see you there.


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Strawberry Tea

Some photos of the Patronal Festival Strawberry Tea. The weather was extremely kind, and a good time was had by all! Thank you to all who made it happen - caterers, washer-uppers, chair shifters, the choir who sang till people had paid up enough to get them to stop... 

Fortunately the vicarage is blessed with a good tree to climb...

Sculpture Exhibition in Rochester Cathedral

Know Your Neighbours date changed - July 18

The Know Your Neighbours meeting planned for tonight - July 4th - has been rescheduled for July 18 at 7.30pm.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Know Your Neighbours - Thursday 4th July

I thought the Know Your Neighbours planning meeting was on Friday 5th. It is actually on THURSDAY 4th - this Thursday. Ignore the date on yesterday's pew leaflet (corrected in the online version)
Sorry about that ! Hope as many people as possible can make it to help plan the fete.